Friday, June 10, 2011

A Message of Everlasting Gratitude

By Zach Umfleet

This morning we departed from Bastogne for Luxembourg. Little did I know how full our day would be. I thought traveling to Luxembourg would take longer than it did.

- Retracing the 4th Armored Division -
On our way to Luxembourg, Ray retraced the route that was taken by the 4th
Armored to link up with the 101st Airborne at Bastogne. During the ride, Mr. Sperry remarked on battle conditions that were similar in the southern area of the Battle of the Bulge to the northern area. We went to Chaumont where there is a memorial to the 4th Armored Division in thanks and remembrance for their liberation of the town. We next moved to Clochimont, the crossroads of the 4th's push north. Here they had to decide whether to take the longer more cautious road to the west or the faster more dangerous road to the north; being in the hurry they were, they chose the northern route. As we followed north, we stopped at the exact point where the 4th met up with the 101st near Bastogne.

- Luxembourg-American Cemetery -
After we had retraced the steps of the 4th Armored we continued south towards Luxembourg. Officially named the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, we made our way to the Luxembourg-American Cemetery, the second most visited WWII cemetery in Europe. Here nearly 5100 soldiers are interred, including two Medal of Honor recipients and General George S. Patton. Here we had a wreath laying ceremony to commemmorate the brave men that are buried here and a nice little presentation about Gen. Patton. After the presentation, we had some free time where we could look around the cemetery and sign the guest books.

- Lunch -
After the visit to the cemetery we had a quick lunch at McDonald's and made our way into Luxembourg City.

- Luxembourg City -
After lunch we ventured into the city to look at a few sites as we made our way to Clervaux. There Ray showed us how the Europeans are good at melding the old architecture with modern buildings, blending the old with the new. We saw the Eternal Flame of Luxembourg, which commemorates all the Luxembourg citizens that died during WWII. We also saw Gen. Bradley's and Gen. Patton's Headquarters while they were in Luxembourg.

- Clervaux, Luxembourg -
After our brief tour of Luxembourg City, we made our way north to Clervaux. While in Clervaux we had a wreath laying ceremony with members of C.E.B.A. (Cercle d'Etudes sur la Bataille des Ardennes {Circle of Studies on the Battle of the Bulge}). Following the ceremony we had a reception with the members of C.E.B.A. at the castle in Clervaux, where the president of the organization gave a speech to honor our veterans; of all the speeches we've heard, I believe this was my favorite.

I want to close today with a direct quote from the speech we heard today:

"Dear veterans and families, when back to the States, please don't forget to convey the message of our everlasting gratitude, our admiration and affection to all the American soldiers (of) WWII and to your generous, peace loving country. Keep us in your mind futhermore! We keep you in our hearts forever. " -Camille Kohn
President, C.E.B.A.

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